An examination of perceptual and cognitive set shifting tasks in acute anorexia nervosa and following recovery

Eat Weight Disord. 2002 Dec;7(4):312-5. doi: 10.1007/BF03324978.


Objectives: People with anorexia nervosa have a broad spread of symptoms including disturbances in perception, cognition, emotions and behaviour. The aim of this study was to examine tests of executive function (in particular, perceptual and cognitive set shifting tasks) in patients with a current or past diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (AN).

Method: 30 AN patients, 16 subjects recovered from anorexia nervosa (ANR) and 23 healthy controls were examined using tests of executive function (initiation tasks and perceptual and cognitive set shifting).

Results: The AN and ANR subjects had significantly higher perceptual and cognitive set shifting scores than the controls.

Conclusions: Impaired executive function in terms of set shifting tasks could represent a vulnerability factor for AN.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy
  • Attention*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Discrimination Learning
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illusions
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Perceptual Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Perceptual Disorders / psychology
  • Reaction Time
  • Reading
  • Semantics
  • Set, Psychology*
  • Size Perception